Yes…it is finally here. The applications are starting to be loaded for the Class of 2020 this week. Thursday, the Common Application will be loaded. Many others will start to become available as well. Usually by August 1st, almost all schools will have their online applications up.
Let’s just start with some tips you need to keep in mind while doing these applications. Remember, if you do not have a plan, which you can stick to throughout the fall, you will find yourself behind quite quickly. The fall of Senior year is very intense, what with getting your applications and essays done, actually filling out the forms, ensuring your scores are released and sent on time, taking the tests again, if you have to, and so on. If you need help with any step during this hectic time, contact us, you can just buy what you need rather than a comprehensive package.
Let’s discuss time…get out your calendars and start inputting a recurring regular time twice a week for college process! Yes! Do this! It is critical to keep you on track. Each year, I meet up with students who have never been consistent and then are suddenly overwhelmed. So do this 1 thing and you might keep on track with at least once a week. Set aside 30 to 45 minutes. Keep in mind to choose a time that you can keep once you get back into school as well.
Also make a folder and call it College or College Essays and place it on your desktop! Each time you write an essay or recommendation draft or resume, save it to that folder. Each essay you write, name it with the College you will be sending it to, as many are specific by college for each supplement. Save your personal statement, as College Personal Statement. Do not save each version of your essays but do keep the original and any edits on Google Docs or Microsoft 365. If you have a major rewrite, simply put V1, V2, V3 after the name and hit Save As. It is usually good to keep track how much your essay will morph from its original.
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO CHANGE THE SUBSTANCE OF YOUR ESSAY simply because a counselor or advisor suggests it. Some students, too shy to speak up, make countless changes to the point that the essay is nothing like what they created. A good reason to keep the original with edits. I, personally, have actually read edits that took something grammatically correct to something incorrect. This is your essay. Grammar edits are always good to pay attention to, but content is yours and yours alone.
Now, this week, you need to gather all your personal information from your parents. You need to know your social security number, if you are in the US. If you are a Permanent Resident, you will need that documentation handy as well. You also need to know your parents’ education. Get your Guidance Counselor’s name, phone, fax, and email, along with his or her title. Your school address, phone and fax will also be asked. All of this will be important.
Remember you will create passwords and user names for all your applications. Email these to yourself and your parents. There will be a time when you forget, and you might delete your own email. So be prudent now. DO NOT SELECT CELL OR TEXT as preferred method of communication! You will get spammed!
This is exciting! Be excited, you are finally applying to college. Yes, there are many steps to the process but you will get them covered as long as you stick to a schedule. NOTHING gets submitted now! Do not send your tests’ scores; do not submit any actual application. Some schools have what is known as a “pre-app” or Part I of an Application that should be submitted as soon as you are able. So please as soon as you are able to determine this, if there is a pre-application, submit it as quickly as possible. The school is entering you into its database and will usually send you back an identification number for its system, which you must put on all future forms. It is also thought that the earlier you submit is a measure of your desire and seriousness to attend that school.
Another word of caution, DO NOT use personal emails on any college correspondence. Use the email you use for school; many private schools assign an email to students. Use this email. Also, NOW is the time to edit and review your social media accounts. Do not put anything out there on social media that might cause someone to question anything about you. Many of you enjoy pictures. Please go through and edit what you have out in the public. This is not the time to be silly or funny. As well as changing any ridiculous or goofy usernames or handles on Social Media. I had a former client whose Twitter handle was Exterminator and had a picture of a gun. Not good. Take away names and pictures that you and your friends think are hysterically funny. They really are not. Might also be a time to review what you have been tagged in and your friends’ comments on your pictures. Welcome to the adult world. Now is the time to truly edit your social profile. This will be important for the rest of your life.